Archives for category: Music

Finding time to practice my guitar is something I find very easy to do. I easily have a minimum of half an hour of free time when I sit down and practice the latest pieces I’m trying to learn.

Ok, now I’m interested to see if this has any effect on my behaviour, because I know that it’s an experiment in social engineering. Only time will tell! I will report back.

Now I’m off to do a bit of practice.

Like many modern technophiles of this era I have a lot of music on my computer, and I have an MP3 player. Winamp has been my player of choice for quite a while, not because it’s better than all the rest, but simply because when I first started listening to music on the computer it was.

Now there is a new and quite frankly brilliant alternative (a good alternative to iTunes as well for the anti-apple iPod owners) it is, Media Monkey! The basic package is free (always nice), and it can sync playlists with portable devices (although I ‘ve not actually tried this yet), perform easy format conversions, auto tag mp3’s from amazon, or from file names, or even rename files from tags. All in a very easy and quick way.

Personally I’m seriously thinking about paying the $20 to get the full version, which can do a few other useful sounding things.

Unless you practice badly in which case practice will make you perfectly bad.
This is concerning me with my guitar practice. I’m starting to see progress in my playing and sight reading skills, which is good but there are some areas that are rather lacking.

For example, when sight reading, I know pretty well which blob on the stave means which finger on the guitar. But I can’t actually NAME the notes either on the paper or on the guitar. At least not with out a bit of thought anyway. So I’ve decided that I need to address this. Esspecially seeing as I see no reason why I won’t be playing guitar for the rest of my life.
Also I need to increase my repertoire, or what I know how to play of by heart. It’s never good when someone says ‘play something’ and I can only play fairly basic stuf because I don’t have any music with me.
Thats the plan, hope it holds !!

It may not be much in the grand scheme of things, but I’m feeling damn proud. Prepare to experient the first recording of Rob playing the guitar! here it is.
Now I know it’s short, but this ensemble piece took and hour to record, as it’s actually for three guitars. So I had to record each track while listening to the last and getting them in time and etc etc…
Actually getting the notes right was a challenge enough…
so yeah.
It’s not actually the entire piece, that’s still to come, but I feel quite rediculously proud of it.

Of course it wouldn’t have been possible without my guitar teacher, Tobias. He’s been damn good, and let me use his portable studio and electro-acoustic guitar to make this recording in my last lesson. 🙂

Yesterday I went to Earls court London to go to the Plasa 2004 exhibition. I was there specifically to look at DJ gear. Not that I need any new kit or anything, the stuff I have is pretty much top of the range and perfectly fine for home use.
I suppose getting to see the uk premier of the Technics SL-DZ1200 digital CDJ turntable and recorded an excusive video of them being demonstrated AND getting to have a go on one of the six working prototypes at the time… yeah getting to do and see that last year gave me good incentive to go again.
I didn’t stay for long, but I saw and had a go on some damn cool stuff.
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I had a dream last night where I was having a chat with Sarah Michelle Gellar (Buffy). Which is fair enough but it got me to thinking. The majority of what was said by her was probably direct quotes from the show Buffy the Vampier Slayer, but with one important difference.
There was absolutely no background music or noise… for any musician that uses samples this is the holy grail, so to speak, which lead me to thinking…
A sampler powered by a living human brain! Mwahahahah!!

*Rob wanders off to find evil scientist hair*

It was a few months ago now that I first heard the term ’emo’ in relation to a musical genre, at first of course I was completely comfused and had no idea what it was all about.
Shortly however it became clear that this was ’emotional’ music, so the followers of emo listened to emotionally charged music. I thought this was a fantastic idea, a genre of music that transends and encompasses all other types of music.
Why – my thinking continued – this could include dramatic opera, rousing classics, (some) pop music and also rock, jazz, hip-hop, R’n’B, maybe even some dance… especially the darker beats with moody breakdowns…

unfortunately I soon discovered that it wasn’t this interesting and gound breaking at all.
Emo music in fact means aggressive guitar thashing and incoherent screaming… aka crap (in my book).

So with this massive disapointment I will make my own music genre ’emot’ which will be all that I thought ’emo’ was going to be, and more.

Join me
Join emot

I really haven’t got the hang of this re-stringing thing. Got the work-shop-guy to reduce the size of the saddle (technical term that I learned today) for my guitar so that the strings are closer to the frets, thus making it easier to play.
Of course to do this you need to take off all the strings first, which I did… then a quick bit of machining later and *presto!*, now to just restring, no problem… then a quick tune….

five minutes later


damnit that high ‘E’ string really doesn’t like me, I have great difficulty hearing if it needs to be tuned up or down (for some reason) and is also the weakest string on the guitar.
Fortunately I was thinking with my brain last time this happened and therefore have a spare one waiting…
I think though that I’ll wait until I get home, re-stringing at work in the lunch hour really doesn’t appeal right now.

Well I have just successfully finished a complete re-stringing of my guitar, its sounding a lot better now! 🙂
Here are some things that I’ve learnt from the experience:
Its very easy to send the pegs pinging off while trying to tighten up the strings.
The thin strings should be tightened with care as they are very easy to break (thats how the whole thing started).
I seems that when re-strung, a lot of tuning should be expected while they settle.

Quite a coincidence that less than a week after my guitar teacher advised me to only bother changing the strings when they break when *SNAP* the E sting goes. Slightly disappointing that while trying to tune the replacement I bought…. *SNAP*… but I’ve learned my lesson and now everything seems to be good. 🙂